I struggle with birthdays and special days, H has not been good in this regard over the years at all and has purposed to hurt me specifically on some special days (won't bore you with the specifics again, although some are infidelity related hence me not posting in off topic, but I do think this is more of an off topic subject in general).
Anyhow, my birthday was last week.
Last year we were out of town, we ate out, not my choice of restaurant, but there was nothing to choose, I was not familiar with any of the places by our hotel, food was not good, server was kind and comped my meal when they asked why I had not eaten much. Aside from that, the day was normal day. (I only bring this up because of the relativity to what happened this year)
So I was off work on my birthday this year, not my doing, just how the schedule went, so I was willing to "do" something birthday wise if it came up. H insisted we eat a meal out even though money is crazy tight, I was not really wanting to spend money but not wanting to deny my birthday either as I have done in the past (ignoring the day, saying it was not important etc to avoid being hurt by others lack of acknowledgement of my birthday). Well I got called into work, was only supposed to work 2-4 hours, ended up being there 10 hours. Kids made dinner and it was nice, but no happy birthdays, no cards, etc. (My step dad did call while I was at work and left a birthday message, so that was nice and I do appreciate it, he always remembers)
so since we did not go out on my birthday, on Friday I was off so H insisted we go out. There is a pub just down the street from us, we have both wanted to try, never been, so I suggested we go there.
Only one person working, the food I ordered came half frozen (got my meal comped again for my birthday, she told me it was free when she set it in front of me cause she knew it was messed up, but she was working alone, so that was that) H and I did not talk much at dinner, basically just how messed up my birthday is/was.
I am curious what I am doing to bring this into my life.
I remember others birthdays and make a big deal over them, my kids have special plates and cups to eat off of on their day, they get their favorite foods, etc, we decorate, sing, candles, if it falls near a weekend sometimes they have several days of celebration. I make holidays special too and the kids love it all, they look forward to special days, they help me make their dads days special, but when it comes to me, I get nothing really. H never took the kids to shop for me, ever for christmas, birthday, mothers day, etc, so kids just don't think about me that way I guess. They are kids, so I do not think it is their job to meet MY need in this area. But it does hurt to see them make their friends parents cards on their birthdays and not get one myself ya know.
So, wise SIers, what do you think I am doing, have done to attract such "nothingness" in regards to this.
Also I do find it a fine line that I am not sure which side to lean toward regarding such things, I want to have a "day" but I do not want to be whiny or demanding about it ya know so I usually suck it up, but since d-day I do talk about it, not incessantly, so I am not sucking it up as I used to but not going on and on either.
Why wait for someone else to do it for you?? Kiddies are too young and hubby isnt stepping up to the plate.
Well, my kids are 17 down to 10, so not too young anymore
I have pondered this, but honestly get no joy out of throwing myself a party, that is just not me. I don't want the party, presents, etc, I just want to be acknowledged in a loving way. If my H would have just written me a short heartfelt letter I would have been more than happy/satisfied, and a "happy birthday mom" with a hug would have gone a long way for me. I truly am a words gal, as I am finding out more and more, not sure how to give myself "words" as you suggest throwing my own party. My one daughter told me on mothers day that she wanted to get me this flowering shrub that she knows I like as I comment on the neighbors each spring, but no one would take her to the store to get one, life was too busy, but just her telling me this on mothers day meant SOOO much to me. To a hungry person, a peanut butter sandwich can taste like a prime rib and lobster meal ya know.
Also, i would scale back his to just what he does for you.
I have scaled back, but the kids really enjoy celebrating H's birthday and fathers day, so I cannot scale back too much without them paying the price IMO.
I know I have done a good job with my kids thinking about others, because they do special things on their own for their friends and friends family as well as our extended family for holidays and birthdays and I am grateful for that.
KIKI1, I appreciate your suggestions, and as I said that is just not me, but as I ponder this, perhaps that is part of my problem, perhaps there is more for me to explore in why this is not me????? But so far I am not connecting the dots.
If your spouse has never made an effort here, and you've never pushed it, then I could see why your kids wouldn't either.
There is nothing wrong with saying, "hey, it is my birthday and I want to be made a big deal of! From now on, I expect the same treatment I give to all of you." It isn't selfish or some such thing. It is a legitimate need. I am sure you will feel strange and awkward and forced at first. But the people in your life can learn new behaviors. But as in all things, if you don't make a stink, rarely will change come.
So, wise SIers, what do you think I am doing, have done to attract such "nothingness" in regards to this.
Children rely on adults, when it comes to subsidizing/financing/planning special days. Now your kids are older. They're doing what was always done, what their father modeled.
What's your husband's excuse?
I know, I know, someone will argue that we teach others how to treat us.
I disagree. Your actions have taught others that birthdays are special. You celebrate them, revel in others' special days.
So why is yours so unimportant? Your example---the mode by which you've taught others how to treat the people important to them---hasn't taught your husband a single thing.
It's a question for your husband to field---it's NOT your responsibility.
[This message edited by solus sto at 12:48 PM, June 24th (Monday)]
But as in all things, if you don't make a stink, rarely will change come.
This is something I KNOW I struggle in. People in my life do not have to cause a stink to be treated well, so I struggle with having to be the one to cause a stink to be treated decently, I feel it is an extra punishment, to have to do something I find distasteful. If you have more perspective on this please share because I definitely hit a road block with this idea my view is limited here.
was wondering if he ever did anything special for you even before dday?
Prior to M, he drew me pictures, wrote me letters and notes (I have a large shoe box full of them), after M it was hit and miss with a card here and there with a note in it, perhaps a short letter once in a while.
He says he struggles with doing things on "special" days that it makes him feel forced, that special things should happen when they happen, not just because it is a certain day, so one should give flowers or send a card when one feels it, not just because it is a "certain" day. It is not like he NEVER does anything for me, but almost as if he purposes to NOT do things on special days, to down play them. His family did not celebrate special days really, he never had a birthday party and rarely got gifts, and I understand this, but one would hope we could try to make each other feel special irregardless of foo, he says that he does appreciate being acknowledged on his birthday, etc, and to be honest, it is just not special days that he gets a favorite meal, or presents, I do that at odd and random times as well when the mood strikes or when I feel he needs a pick me up.
My IC say's he probably never will and I have to learn to just live with it, but to still tell him what I need.
This is probably where I need to be, but I am still fighting it. I have had to give up so much due to infidelity, as we all have, and I guess I am still fighting having to give this up as well, it is almost like one thing just tooooooo much, stupid to pick this as a hill to die on, etc, but something inside me will just not roll over on this and just accept this is how it is.
letitout - I truly hope he surprises you on your birthday and shows you something from his heart in regards to how special you are !!
What on earth makes you think you're responsible for the lack of empathy and thoughtfulness of your husband
I used to think I was responsible, but not anymore. That has been an area of awareness and huge growth for me, for nearly 20 years I thought that it was my issue, if I were better, less selfish, worked harder, kinder, etc. Now I know better, I realize I do not have that kind of power over another, only myself.
The part that really got me this year was the working on my birthday and the second inedible birthday meal on top of the day not really being recognized by my family. I mean these are total strangers helping to make the day negative LOL I am the common denominator here right?
we teach others how to treat us
Yep another fine line for me, I did not "demand or require" much of my H the first 20 years, it is true, I was a hard worker who sucked it up and put in way more than I took out. So I do have some responsibility, but irregardless he does as well, I am not trying to let him off the hook, trying to figure out how to meet my needs here, I know I cannot force him, but.........
My H considers his birthday unimportant, he would not mind if it was not celebrated or acknowledged so he says, but I have never been able to do that, and now with kids, it is just not possible imo. He has always said it, he has said that what I do for him he accepts more for me than for him, even though he does appreciate the gifts/special things, it is not necessary or needed by him.
is is something I KNOW I struggle in. People in my life do not have to cause a stink to be treated well, so I struggle with having to be the one to cause a stink to be treated decently, I feel it is an extra punishment, to have to do something I find distasteful. If you have more perspective on this please share because I definitely hit a road block with this idea my view is limited here.
Maybe make a stink is the wrong choice of words. Perhaps, "a serious, heartfelt discuss" is more accurate. An honest, open, non-angry, eye ball to eye ball, "it hurts my feelings, deeply, that nobody acknoweldges my birthday and that the attempt to celebrate is always an epic fail. It makes me feel sad, and unloved and unimportant in everyone's lives. I do so much to make everyone else's days special. From here on out, I expect extra effort, time and attention."
Have you both read the 5 Love Languages? It's a good book in that it describes how one partner can have something as a major need, which the other partner does not share. Because your husband doesn't think his bday is important, he likely cannot relate to how important this may be for you. And it often takes outside information to get a resistant partner to set aside their perspective, and look through the eyes of their spouse and merely accept they have different needs. It doesn't make your needs greater than or less than his. They are just different. But deserved to be honored, even if you do not feel the same way.
I can't quite tell, Grace, if you are in the mindset that you *shouldn't have to ask* for what you want or what is important to you. If you are, then simply, stop. We all must ask for what is important to us. That's your job. Your spouse's job is to listen to you, really listen, and then do what is important to you. Some people receive love in this manner. Because he may not understand how this works, you have to help train him. Even though my spouse is great at this, I still give fair warning. "Only three shopping months until my birthday!" is used every year in these parts.
I don't know if that is helpful at all, but my .02.
Thank you for the re wording what you meant, it helps me to see it differently.
"it hurts my feelings, deeply, that nobody acknoweldges my birthday and that the attempt to celebrate is always an epic fail. It makes me feel sad, and unloved and unimportant in everyone's lives. I do so much to make everyone else's days special. From here on out, I expect extra effort, time and attention."
In the above quote, I have said the quoted part, but I do not think I have gone all the way and added what you said after.
The first couple of years after d-day, my H actually wanted to do things for me, he was in the honeymoon period while I was in mourning. I told him that I could not accept/allow him to do things at that time, it was the only power I felt I had. Then I slowly worked my way out of that and we have had this conversation, I have expressed my feelings and why but to be honest I do not think I have gone all the way as you stated.
We have read the five LL, a few years prior to d-day. His LL is pretty straight forward and easy to wrangle down, mine not so much. Long story short, it appeared that my LL was quality time, but since d-day and all the changes/shifts/awareness/realizations I think I am a words gal most of all. I have expressed this, but it has not sunk in apparently. In the past, he has purposed to take the day off work on a special day, but that was it, we did nothing, nothing was said, it was like any other day off and for some reason would depress me more, I would rather be alone at times like that. Quality time was obviously not it.
if you are in the mindset that you *shouldn't have to ask* for what you want
Nope, but I can only ask so many times without being heard, or given what I am asking for before I do shut down. I do not have unlimited endurance as I once thought I did.
Your spouse's job is to listen to you, really listen, and then do what is important to you.
Perhaps it really is just as simple as this. If so, then perhaps I am just bucking up against the reality that I am not listened to, really heard and that is what I should be focusing on, not the symptom, but the root.
So, I need to have a talk with H and tell him all this stuff again, with the expectations/want/needs clearly spelled out right?
Should I tell him exactly what I would like, as in spell it out, or give him leeway to do as he chooses? I really want something written out, something meaningful and worthy of my 25 years, or should I just sit back and see what he comes up with if anything? Knowing him it will be dinner out, which is nice to acknowledge, but not "enough" at this stage of the "game" for me.
Seriously help me do my part here?